The Narendra Modi government on Saturday (22 November) decided to exempt religious tours from service tax making pilgrimages such as Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, Haj and Pashupatinath Yatra cheaper, reports The New Indian Express.
According to the report, a notification by government stated that service tax exemption has been provided to “services by a specified organisation in respect of a religious pilgrimage facilitated by the Government of India under bilateral arrangement.”
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is organised by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in coordination with Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) Limited while the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA) facilitates the Haj in coordination with the Haj Committee of India (HCOI).
Now with the government exemption, Goods and Service Tax (GST) for all religious tours stands at 5 per cent.
The HCOI, which has been demanding removal of tax for Haj, welcomed government’s decision. HCOI Chairman Maqsood Ahmed Khan said the reduced GST would significantly benefit Haj pilgrims, especially women.
Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had also raised the issue of bringing down taxes on pilgrimage and asked the government to reduce GST to 5 per cent for all religious tours, HCOI Chairman Maqsood Ahmed Khan was quoted in the report as saying.
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